After ugly loss to Hempfield, Warwick slips past McCaskey
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
After losing by just a point to Hempfield in their first meeting this season, the Warwick girls figured to be due against their long-standing nemesis last Friday.
The fact that Warwick was on its home court for Senior Night festivities, and that they are currently battling for an L-L League playoff berth, certainly didn’t hurt their cause.
It didn’t turn out that way, however.
Mustering a season-low in total points while shooting just 27 percent (9-for-33) from the field, the Lady Warriors dropped a 25-20 loss to the Black Knights in a Section One game in Lititz.
"We talked at halftime," Warwick coach Amy Derr said, "we talked about intensity, we talked about looking to score every time they get the ball (and) moving without the ball. The lack of intensity … I mean, offensively, it was horrendous. It was."
Hempfield’s win pulled them into a second-place tie with Warwick and Penn Manor in the battle for the second and final L-L League playoff berth in Section One.
The Lady Warriors bounced back with a 45-43 win over McCaskey in Lancaster on Tuesday, led by Bethany Zimmerman’s 11 points, to keep pace with the Knights and Comets, all with 8-5 league records. Warwick also improved to 10-9 overall.
"We need to work game-to-game right now," Derr said.
Warwick led 27-18 at the half, but the Red Tornado used a 15-4 third-quarter run to grab a two-point lead heading to the final stanza. But the Lady Warriors outscored McCaskey 14-10 in the fourth to escape with the victory.
Vicki Smith, who is relocating out of the area following this Friday’s game at Cedar Crest, chipped in with nine points in the win, and Megan Hunt hit two treys and finished with nine points.
Hempfield, which shot only 3-of-13 from the foul line, was led by Kaitlin LeFever’s game-high 14 points. Greta Weidemoyer paced the Lady Warriors with 10 points and Bethany Zimmerman added eight.
Lefever’s layup with 4:06 left in the half gave the Knights their first lead, 9-8, since Brianna Neal (eight points) drilled a 3-pointer in the first quarter. Meredith Michel answered inside for Warwick, and the Lady Warriors took a 10-9 advantage into the break.
The Knights did an effective job on defense containing Warwick’s second-leading scorer Megan Hunt, who had 12 points against Hempfield on Jan. 3 and attempted only two shots in the opening 16 minutes on Friday. But as a team, although they had the one-point lead, the Lady Warriors were shooting 0-for-4 at the foul line and 5-for-14 from the floor.
"In the pre-game talk with the girls, they seemed to be fired up, they seemed to be ready," Derr said. "I told them we had to come out of the gates and not like we did with Ephrata (last Wednesday when they trailed 10-2 early in the first quarter). They’re very well aware of what needs to be done. We know that we truly don’t have the unbelievable scoring threat if Megan isn’t allowed to shoot. Period. So it’s a situation where everybody’s got to dig down deep and practice hard."
Lefever scored eight of her 14 points in the third quarter, and after Zimmerman’s deuce gave the Warwick girls a 14-13 edge with 5:25 left in the period, the Knights went on a 7-0 run, starting with a trey by Taylor Denlinger, to take a lead they never relinquished. Thanks to Lefever’s game-high 10 boards, the Knights also capitalized on a 30-25 rebounding edge.
"There were too many times I thought Hempfield had too many putbacks under the hoop," Derr said. "Personally, the kids know, I feel there’s no excuse for that. You need to get in there and get a body on somebody."
Zimmerman’s two free throws with 5:24 left in the fourth finally snapped an 0-for-4 streak from the line to slice Hempfield’s lead to 22-18. The Knights, meanwhile, started the game 0-for-9 from the foul line, and they left the door open for Warwick when Neal and Denlinger each missed front end of a 1-and-1.
Finally, Warwick capitalized on a layup by Weidemoyer with 1:14 remaining to cut their deficit to two, 22-20. It remained a two-point game following turnovers on the Lady Warriors’ next two possessions, and Neal converted one of two from the stripe to make it 23-20 with :14.2 remaining.
The Lady Warriors missed a 3-pointer on their next possession, then Lefever grabbed the board and Neal sank a pair of freebies with :5.5 to go to put it out of reach.
"Easy shots didn’t fall for us and we were 0-for-4 from the line. It speaks for itself," Derr said. "As bad as those stats are, and little as they are, it still speaks for itself … We expected tight defense from Hempfield. We practiced all of our man-to-man defenses (on Thursday). As a coaching staff, you do everything you’re supposed to do and we told them in the locker room that we’re kind of to a point that we need to be harder on them."
In other action last Wednesday, Jan. 25, the Lady Warriors rallied from a 21-16 halftime deficit to defeat Ephrata 40-37 in a Section One-Two crossover in Lititz.
Madi Derr scored six of her 10 points in the third quarter, including a trey, to help Warwick overtake the Lady Mounts, 31-29, going to the fourth. There, Derr and Greta Weidemoyer combined to go 3-for-4 at the foul line and Warwick outscored Ephrata 9-8 to seal the win.
Bethany Zimmerman led the Lady Warriors with 11 points, and Kelly Liebl hit four triples and paced the Ephrata girls with a game-high 14 points. More LADY WARRIORS, page B-6